PESHAWAR: Parents of Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges in Peshawar are worried about their children’s future after Turkey’s ambassador to Islamabad urged the government to shut these institutes down.
The Turkish government said the network was backed by Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric accused by Ankara of orchestrating the coup attempt in Turkey. On the other hand, the management of the network has clarified it was a philanthropic and apolitical endeavour established for human development.
Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges network maintains 28 institutes across the country. It has staff of 1,500 for 10,000 students taught from preschool to A-Levels.
In Peshawar, the school has both a senior and junior section in Hayatabad and University Town, respectively. The combined number of students is 600 at both institutes with more than 70 staffers.
In a quandary
Qasimuddin, a parent with two children enrolled in the Pak-Turk International School in Hayatabad, said he was surprised over the news of the possible closure of the schools and worried for his children’s future. He said the network delivered quality education and provides every facility to students.
According to Qasimuddin, he was unaware of any affiliation with a specific group or individual in Turkey. He urged the government take notice of the matter and officially clarify the position of the schools so that parents could decide over the future of their children.
Muhammad Raziq, another parent, echoed Qasimuddin’s sentiments, saying the closure of the schools created uncertainty among parents about their children’s education. “The matter needs to be taken up on an official level so that parents understand the real position,” he added.
The Pak-Turk International Schools and College administration issued a press release stating the initiative was a result of “selfless work over nearly two decades”. As a result, the organisation was able to provide affordable and quality education to all segments of the population across the country. It added significant amounts of money were awarded as scholarships to deserving students so they could pursue their dreams of a quality education.
The administration said it was deeply concerned over allegations made by certain sections of the social media who were trying to connect the schools to Fethullah Gulen or his political movement.
It unequivocally declared there was no affiliation or connection with any political individual, movement or organisation, whether political, religious or denominational. As per the press release, no such entity was provided financial support to the institutes.
The administration also said it reserved the right to take appropriate legal action.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, an official in the senior section – who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media – said they had been informed that the institute was only established for human development and was in no way affiliated with Gulen.
He said these speculations had left them worried for their jobs and the future of hundreds of students. The official added they were convinced by the management, through a circular, that there is no such affiliation of the group with Gulen.
According to the official, representatives from the schools also met Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi, to clarify the position of the network and its role in education.
The minister assured the delegation that he received no instructions to close the schools and colleges in K-P.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2016.
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